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 Post subject: An upgrade long overdue
PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:52 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:13 am
Posts: 3
Location: new york, NY, US
I am thinking its time for some upgrades - like the whole system. But its been so many years, and Boards like this have become so helpful and accessible, I am turning to the Pros as it were to seek some varied and hopefully passionate advice.

Disclaimer - I tend to buy used as I have tastes that appreciate the A/B-class but have a D-class budget, so something that used to be $8,000 new that can be gotten for say $2200 now is right on the mark. Of course it must still be relevant and likely remain so for the next couple of years. But age doesnt matter otherwise....

I am currently running a bryston 2B (which itself was an upgrade from a Myryad T40), with a Cal Audio dac and dynaudio countour 1.8 floor-standing speakers. this is the guts - i use a sony blue-ray player for the occasional movie, but mostly listening to music (which is all over the place, jazz, rock, opera, classical, etc, and more recently, the dreaded Pandora channeled through the phone and a input jack)

What research I have been able to do leads me to consider opening up the sound stage with something more mixed, like a conrad johnson pv14L as pre- and the ayre v5xe, and coming forward in the age of digital, considering something like the oppo 105 but i was also thinking the nad m50 / m52 combo instead of the oppo..........and lastly all this heard through (I'm thinking) vienna accoustics beethoven baby grands

so maybe the whole thing comes in at 8k - 10k? can I achieve 80% - 90% of this for 5k? or less even? Is my mixology fraught with disaster? am I missing something obvious?

i dont know what I dont know here so please weigh in

thanks for your consideration and insights


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:34 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Santa Ana, CA, US
There’s nothing wrong with asking. After all, the one thing we all learn in college, or is grade school, is that there are no dumb questions.

So in your second paragraph you state that you desire an $8K amp for 2200. That is approximately 25% of retail, but in the fifth paragraph you conclude that you want a system of the $10k flavor for 5K. That would be 50% of retail. Which is it? Are you paying 50% of retail (newer gear) or 25% of retail (older stuff—actually 25% of retail seems to be non-existent whether new or old)?

I bring attention to this because I am so perturbed with the state of used pricing these days! Unfortunately, asking prices on used gear have escalated (unjustifiably so) to extraordinary heights these days. It is much more common to find asking prices at 60% of retail rather than 30% (30 may actually be unheard of). I personally happen to find used pricing to be quite ridiculous and I wish buyers would be a bit more particular and substantially less insatiable.

Since you mentioned an $8k amp, let me provide a case in point. Recently, on a different-but-similar website a fellow listed an older Krell EVO amp that retailed for approximately—if not exactly--$8k. He listed it for a couple of months (maybe longer) beginning at over 50% of retail and eventually lowering his asking price to around 3600. He then states that if he can’t get his 3600 then he will simply trade it in to his dealer towards a new amp. Would a dealer really give this guy 45% of retail ($3600) for his old/obsolete amplifiers? I wouldn’t think so, but we are talking about Krell, an elite audio brand, so maybe he could get that kind of trade-in value. Still, I was surprised the fellow didn’t continue to lower his price. I don’t see why he would pull the plug on the ad at 45% of retail. In my mind, if he would have started at $3200 (40% of retail) and taken offers from there, it would have made perfect sense for used gear. (???) It’s all subjective and we just don’t know what would of have happened if he lowered the price further, and now we never will because he pulled the ad. One thing we know with certainty is that he had it priced too high; otherwise, he would have sold it.

Enough bitching about pricing—my new favorite pastime. On to your system . . .

You didn’t mention what pre you are currently running with the Bryston. Is it solid state? You suggest a tube pre as an upgrade—are you familiar with tubes now? Have you owned tubes before? I like tubes and you expressed a desire for great soundstaging which I think tubes provide better than SS, so maybe you should just go with tubes all around including the amp. Why replace Bryston with Arye which seems like substituting an apple with another apple to me. You need to bring some juicy pears to the table (that would be tubes). A tube pre is “musical,” a tube amp is “musical,” and Vienna speakers are “musical,” but they all can throw a wide sound. One thing’s for sure, on a cold night you’ll be warm, warm, warm! If you determine it’s too much molasses on top of the syrup mixed in with the honey, then you could replace the Viennas with a more detail/transparent speaker like B&W or Thiel, keeping the tubes for all their harmonic, visual beauty.

Understand that my perspective on this comes from that of a tube lover.

The problem is nobody else knows what you don’t know and most of them don’t know what they don’t know, you know.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:13 am
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Location: new york, NY, US
Love the rant, Sing, so let me try to address some of the points you rasised.....

as for my current system, its all SS, and the Bryston is an integrated SS.
As for my budget - I am notionally targeting something like 10k I guess, as a starting point. I dont have unlimited funds, nor do I want to spend foolishly. So if the advice I get can point me to more cost efficient options, then I am listening. On the other hand, if I am being a penny wise/pound foolish sort, then I want to know that too.

As for pricing - such a subjective thing....I think the used component pricing used to be deeper discounts before because (1) the used supply steadily increased, but then (2) the interest in the "hobby" and home theater also rapidly increased..driving more interest in A-grade equipment and outstripping the rise in supply.....then (3) the cost of production has dropped dramatically (see this in cars too - the most tricked out BMW today would have cost 2x-3x more 15 years ago) making older equipment obsolete quicker (who wants a 1980's DAC for example, when sample rates etc are now so much more sophisticated).

the price points i mentioned are reflective of what i am seeing for the equipment i mentioned.....ie doing some research i see the Ayre V5xe, original retail 8000, now available in the used market for about 2500-3000. the NAD M50, original retail something like 2500-3000, now available for 1000 or so. about the same for the oppo. but if theres a Pass Labs or McIntosh for example thats 4000 and blows away the Ayre, then I should consider it. But if theres a Parasound etc for 1500 that blows it away, I would like to hear about that too. And so on. its pretty wide open - I am more interested in the dialog to see where this goes.....

thanks for listening and being part of the conversation


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:50 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:13 am
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Location: new york, NY, US
so I was having this same discussion with some other folks and the pairing and synergy aspect of mixing and matching became the predominant focal point ....sending me back into the ether to discover and research further. I came up with several alternative "systems" if you will that I think are all into the similar vein of soundstage, musicality, and emotion... I'd be interested to see what the reaction of the Board here would be to this list...note that prices are relfective of used product pricing on this site and others.....

1) Ayre Ax-5 integrated amp and Vandersteen 3A, or Revel Ultima Salon2 (price about $7k with the vandys, $12k with the Salon)

2) Primare pre30 with primare A30.2 for Vienna Accoustics Beethoven Baby Grand (price about $6k)

3) ARC LS27 pre with McIntosh MC275 amp and Tannoy Kensingtons or Sonus Faber Cremonas (Price est $11k)

4) BAT vk51se pre with Bryston 4Bsst and PMC (FB1i or OB1i)
(Price est. $9k)

5) BAT vk51se pre with Bryston 4Bsst and Dynaudio (S3.4 or Confidence 2s) (Price est $11k)

6) Conrad Johnson ET3se pre with Pass Labs x250.5 or .8 and Focal 1027S / Chorus 826 or Dynaudio C2 (Price est $10k with the Focals, $14k with the C2)

7) CJ ET3se pre with Bryston 4Bsst and either PMC or Dynaudio, as these seem to pair with Bryston the best (nod to the Sonus Faber fans out there) (Price est $9-10k)

8) Rogue Super Magnum 99 pre with Parasound Halo A21 and Vandys, or Dynaudio (same as above) (Price est $7-9k)

9) Rogue Super Magnum 99 pre with Rogue Stereo 90, through KEF R900 or Revel Performa F206 (Price est $6k)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:29 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:01 am
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Location: Bozeman, MT, US
Don't entirely understand the rant. 60% of retail is reasonable, at least as a starting point for bargaining, for quality equipment that is a few years old and is the current model or close. What a dealer would give in trade-in may be worth knowing, but is irrelevant to the private used market. Businesses are trying to make a profit and have costs that individuals don't. And there's nothing inherently obsolete about older goods, including amps, although probably in most cases, yes, 60% would be too high. I'm listening to Quad 12L active speakers on my desktop that were produced in 2007, and they are hardly obsolete, there not being much available in similar-sized actives that's better in the U.S. without spending a whole lot more (they currently go for 25-33% of original MSRP, the latter being a price that they may or may not have gone for in practice).

To the OP, the question is, what would fit together well sonically within a certain used equipment budget. My suggestion is to get on more high end sites like Audiogon and Computer Audiophile and perhaps some others, such as Audio Circle, and ask.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:04 am
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Location: Wayne, NJ, US
Listen, listen some more, and listen some more. Than decide how much do you really need to listen to. 10K in todays used market will get you a tremendous system, but if you can close your eyes and really listen, you will find that difference between 5K and 10k is really so incremental it may be not worth it. If your hell bent on spending 10K, than put the majority of it into the best source, as it will be much cheaper to get big improvements on the egress points of the system than the ingress down the road.


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